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Saturday News: Prudent Jurist


NC COURTS PUT ON 30-DAY DELAY OVER COVID 19: Supreme Court Chief Justice Cheri Beasley directed most Superior Court and District Court cases to be pushed back for at least 30 days starting Monday, with some exceptions. Trials and grand juries with jurors already seated will continue as scheduled. Bond and probable cause hearings will still be held, domestic violence protection proceedings won't stop and magistrates will continue to be in place at courthouses across the state to issue warrants, state court leaders said. Beasley said the delays will affect thousands of court cases and likely will lead to backlogs in the months ahead. But she said the pause is needed so the judicial branch can do its part to curb the virus spread.

Friday News: Agent Extract

NC IS SLOWLY RAMPING UP TESTING FOR COVID 19: “Our issue and our limitation has been for supplies at our state lab,” said Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, in a Thursday afternoon news conference. “Our extraction supplies have been in extremely limited supplies.” It’s not just a North Carolina problem. The agent used to extract genetic material from the virus at the labs has created a nationwide problem, Politico and The New York Times reported. “The main issue appears to be an agent used for extracting the RNA in order to identify the genetic sequence that marks this as the coronavirus,” said state Sen. Jeff Jackson, a Mecklenburg County Democrat. In addition to the state lab, tests are being conducted at LabCorp, Atrium, Duke and UNC, Cohen said. LabCorp, which is based in Burlington, is currently able to perform several thousand tests per day at facilities across the nation, according to its website.

Thursday News: Forest burning down


LINDBERG TAPES REVEAL DEEPER CONNECTIONS TO LT. GOVERNOR: "Well, some of what happened to Dan Forest was, was strategic, and there's more to it," Gray told Causey during a May 2018 phone conversation. "What you can see of it is not even the tip of an iceberg. There's a lot more to it than anybody knows, and I'm not at liberty to discuss it." Even though Causey didn't ask for details, Gray kept stressing discretion. "It's just not the kinds of things to be discussed publicly," he said, according to an FBI transcript. "Well, I certainly appreciate," Causey began, before Gray cut him off. "The best way to win a primary is not to have one," he said. Forest's campaign spokesman said it's "impossible to speculate" what Gray meant, and he accused WRAL News of trying "to smear the solid reputation of the lieutenant governor by innuendo, hearsay, guilt by association or any other means available."

Wednesday News: Hard-hearted, hard-headed

NC REPUBLICANS' OPPOSITION TO MEDICAID EXPANSION RUNS DEEP: The task force report referenced a study published in 2018 that concluded that the infant mortality rate dropped more quickly in states that expanded Medicaid, with the biggest declines among African Americans. The study did not convince Senate Republicans who oppose Medicaid expansion. Sen. Joyce Krawiec, a Kernersville Republican, noted that the steepest drops in death rates in the years referenced in the study were between 2010 and 2014, before states started implementing Medicaid expansion. “It’s misleading to tie it to Medicaid expansion,” she said. Sen. Ralph Hise, a Spruce Pine Republican, asked if “putting someone on Medicaid would make them more healthy.” Zolotor said it’s important for women to be healthy before they get pregnant, but did not have information to show people who have Medicaid are healthier than people who don’t have it.

Tuesday News: Drama queen


TRUMP'S NEW CHIEF OF STAFF IMMEDIATELY TAKES TWO-WEEK VACATION: U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, who was named President Trump’s new chief of staff Friday, has tested negative for the coronavirus but will quarantine himself for 14 days “out of an abundance of caution,” his spokesman said Monday. Meadows, a Republican who represents far-western North Carolina, was tested over the weekend after coming into contact with a person at the Conservative Political Action Conference who tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by coronavirus, said Ben Williamson, Meadows’ chief of staff, in a tweet Monday night. “Mark Meadows was advised this weekend that now 12 days prior at CPAC, he may have come in contact with the COVID-19 positive test individual. A precautionary test came back negative & he feels great. He’ll be self-quarantined till the 14 day period passes Wednesday,” the tweet said.

Monday News: Lunatic fringe

WHEN REPUBLICAN LG CANDIDATE GAVE GUN SPEECH, HE DIDN'T OWN A GUN YET: “When are you all going to start standing up for the majority?” he asked. “And here’s who the majority is: I’m the majority. I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody, never committed a serious crime, never committed a felony.” A video of his speech was shared by Greensboro-area Republican Rep. Mark Walker and took off, racking up millions of views and attracting national news coverage. Robinson started getting invited to speak at gun rights rallies — including the NRA’s national convention in 2018, where President Donald Trump also spoke. When he gave his now-famous speech about protecting law-abiding gun owners, Robinson didn’t actually own a gun but did have a criminal record. However, his record is relatively minor — nothing violent and no felonies — and mostly consists of traffic offenses. He also filed for bankruptcy three times in the late 1990s and early 2000s, has been taken to court a few times over unpaid debts, and has been the subject of numerous IRS liens for failing to pay thousands of dollars in taxes, as recently as 2012.

Sunday News: From the Editorial pages


ECU NEEDS A CHANCELLOR WHO CARES MORE FOR EASTERN NC THAN CATERING TO POLITICIANS: It is time to get ECU back on track. It deserves a chancellor who demonstrates excellence in higher education and understands the future is made of partnerships. It deserves a leader who understands and nurtures the critical and unique relationships the university has with partners such as the non-profit Vidant Health. Vidant operates the medical center that serves as the teaching hospital for ECU’s Brody School of Medicine. It is also the hub for Vidant’s network of facilities that provide healthcare to a 29-county region in the eastern part of the state. The legislature has threatened to reduce funding to Vidant and rumors abound suggesting that UNC Healthcare is interested in buying Vidant. That talk needs to stop. Building the ECU -Vidant partnership should be a priority. And the new Chancellor should join with Vidant and fight for Medicaid expansion.

Saturday News: Failing upwards


TRUMP NAMES CONGRESSIONAL BULLY MARK MEADOWS CHIEF OF STAFF: Meadows, who has represented far western North Carolina since 2013, is one of Trump’s fiercest defenders in Congress and had been considered for the chief of staff job at other points during Trump’s tenure. Meadows announced late last year that he would not seek another term in Congress, saying he might work in the Trump administration in some capacity. That stoked rumors that he was finally poised to ascend to the position when the time was right. In a sign of Trump’s continued favoritism of Meadows, the president named the congressman to a group of House Republicans to act as a rapid response team during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year. During those two and half weeks, Meadows boasted to reporters that no member of Congress communicated directly with Trump more than he did.

Friday News: Guilty


DAN FOREST DONOR GREG LINDBERG CONVICTED OF BRIBERY: After the verdict, Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Stetzer asked that Lindberg immediately be taken into custody — a suggestion that had one of the businessman’s attorneys sitting gape-mouthed in surprise. Instead, U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn ordered that Lindberg remain under electronic monitoring and said Lindberg must notify the court of where he intends to live. He and Gray will be sentenced at a later date. The red-haired billionaire left the courtroom by a side aisle, hunched slightly under the strap of his briefcase and carrying a plastic water bottle. He and his legal team quickly walked down some stairs and out the side door of the courthouse onto Mint Street and into a waiting black Denali.

Thursday News: Deluge of disinformation


TILLIS ATTACKS CUNNINGHAM WITH SANDERS, BUT CAL VOTED FOR BUTTIGIEG: Tillis, 59, has embraced President Donald Trump fully, called out his Democratic challengers as socialists and radical and is seeking to make sanctuary cities and illegal immigration a top issue. “I want to keep working with President Trump to create jobs, boost wages, secure winning trade deals, rebuild our military, improve health care for veterans, combat sanctuary cities, and confirm well-qualified judges to the federal bench,” Tillis said in a statement Tuesday night. His first ad highlights Sen. Bernie Sanders more than former Vice President Joe Biden, who won North Carolina on Tuesday and is in a tight race with Sanders for the nomination. The ad also replays several times Cunningham’s commitment to support his party’s ticket. Cunningham voted for former candidate Pete Buttigieg for president.


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